Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Harper about to come on - TCM

From: Patrick Kennedy (
Date: 22 Aug 2010

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    I think Robert Urich was hopelessly miscast as Spenser: altogether too smooth around the edges, blow dryed and smarmy, even for such a Marlowe-Lite character.  Selleck would actually have been a better choice and is actually better as Jesse Stone on television than Stone is in the novels, probably because we cannot hear what he is thinking as precisely as Parker lets us know in the books and therefore we can ascribe a greater reality and depth to him than might actually be present. I think, though, that the casting people, particularly in television, can only work with what is available to them and what their budgets can buy, so, say, DeNiro or Russell Crowe as Spenser or whatever was never likely to happen even if anyone had thought of it, which they probably shouldn't have, but you get my meaning anyway, I hope.


    ________________________________ From: Brian Thornton <> To: Sent: Sun, 22 August, 2010 22:28:14 Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Harper about to come on - TCM

    Great thread.  I recall that Archer gets described as tall and lean several times over the course of the 20-plus years MacDonald wrote about him.

    As for Newman, he was a bit too upbeat (a fine portrayal, nonetheless) to fit perfectly with MacDonald's titular character in "Harper," but boy did he nail the portrayal in "The Drowning Pool."  Pitch-perfect for my money.

    And as for authors "getting it wrong" with their own characters, Robert B. Parker always pictured Tom Selleck as Spenser.  I also believe that Selleck was Parker's first choice to play Jesse Stone.

    All the Best-


    On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM, James Michael Rogers <>wrote:

    > Although Cary Grant did play a very credible, complicated and bitter tough
    > guy in Hitchcock's Notorious. Very different from the usual debonair figure
    > we associate with him.
    > I was just reading an article by someone who described the act of reading
    > as esentially a passive experience. I think that is exactly wrong. I would
    > guess that we all have "our" version of Marlowe and Archer in our heads. The
    > fact that they are not described very clearly allows us to fill in the
    > details as it pleases us. A good book invites us in and allows us to, in
    > effect, be the cinematographer and casting director of the fictive
    > experiences unfolding in our minds. It obviously invoves some really
    > peersonal choices which is probably while we all feel so indignant when we
    > find that Hollywood has blown it's casting of a much loved character.
    > James
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Patrick Kennedy
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2010 15:04
    > Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Harper about to come on - TCM
    > Regarding the character Newman plays in 'The Moving Target', I meant that
    > he was
    > very unlike the rather bland Archer of the novels in character, a bit too
    > smart
    > alecky and humorous. You're right, though, in noting that Bogart, from the
    > bits
    > and pieces of description peppering Chandlers books in the mouths of others
    > and
    > self-deprecatingly in his own, was far too small in stature to be a perfect
    > physical Marlowe. His delivery of the Chandler dialogue, though, remains
    > unequalled.
    > Chandler himself, perhaps only half-jokingly, wrote that if you were to
    > remark
    > that Marlowe was as handsome as Cary Grant, Marlowe might not feel
    > flattered.
    > All I can say to that is, thank God the studios never got the idea of Cary
    > Grant
    > playing Marlowe into their heads -- almost, but not quite, as bad a notion
    > as
    > Dick Powell, or Robert Montgomery, for that matter, as Marlowe.
    > By coincidence, Ian Fleming also regarded Cary Grant as his ideal actor to
    > play
    > Bond. Makes you kinda wonder whether authors know anything after all,
    > doesn't
    > it?
    > Patrick
    > ________________________________
    > From: Dick Lochte < <>>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Sun, 22 August, 2010 19:24:00
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Harper about to come on - TCM
    > Patrick mentioned that Paul Newman did not resemble the Lew Archer of the
    > novels. But does Macdonald ever tell us what Archer looked like? Does
    > Chandler gives us much of a description of Marlowe, except for his height
    > (which is where Bogart falls short -- sorry)? Describing the physical
    > aspects of your hero isn't easy to do when you're writing first-person
    > narration. Though Hammett managed to put the image of the Op in our minds.
    > And MacDonald gave us a complete picture of Travis McGee, using McGee's
    > often annoying self-referencing. I'm wondering if it might not be better to
    > let the reader fill in the blanks. Any opinions?
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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